Carnatic vocalist Changanassery Madhavan Namboothiri enthralled the audience in Palakkad.

Changanassery Madhavan Namboothiri’s vocal recital at Palghat Fine Arts Society, Tharekkad, was steeped in classicism. Endowed with a reverberating voice and good diction and delivery, he made the concert memorable with his vibrant music. Accompanists Kodunthirappally Subbaraman (violin), Cherthala Ananthakrishnan (mridangam) and Coimbatore Subramanian (ganjira) sailed smoothly with him and uplifted the concert.

The concert gained momentum right from the very first item, the varnam ‘Saamininne’ of Garbapurivasar in Sri raga. The same tempo continued with crisp renditions of ‘Jaya Jaya Padmanabha’ (Sarasangi – Swati Tirunal) and ‘Seethamma Maayamma’ (Vasantha –Tyagaraja). The next item ‘Mokshamu galada’, another piece of Tyagaraja in Saramathi, was soaked in bhava.

Traditional sancharas marked the alapana of Poorvikalyani. Choosing ‘Ninnu vinaga mari’, a well-known kriti of Syama Sastri, he came out with an energetic neraval at ‘Paramaloga’, with imaginative improvisations. The ingenious kalpana swaras, particularly those hovering around panchamam in the middle octave, were engaging. The raga swaroopa emerged beautifully in all the segments of this rendition.

The sweet strains of Hindolam with accent on the swara ‘ma’ were soothing to the ears. Papanasam Sivan’s marvellous creation ‘Maa Ramanan’ glowed brightly in the serene presentation by the vocalist. The slow-paced swaraprastharas had a touch of class. A quick ‘Sakalagrahapala’, a song of Purandaradasa in Atana, was an apt interlude to a scintillating delineation of Keeravani, the main raga of the evening. It was a masterly exposition, punctuated with chiselled musical expressions. The sancharas leading to ‘shadjam’ in the middle octave and the spontaneous flow of sangathis in the upper octave created a powerful impact. Periaswamy Thooran’s ‘Punniam oru koti’, not much heard in present-day concerts, was a good choice.

It is a gem of a kriti in praise of the sage of Kanchi, Mahaperiaval, noted for its lyrical beauty. Here too, Madhavan excelled in the crisp niraval at ‘Annai Kamakshi pole’ in the charanam. The energetic swara patterns reflected the style of his guru, the famous musician T.V. Sankaranarayanan.

A sudden shift in the vocalist’s approach was discernible in the final phase of the concert. The soulful pieces, ‘Manasija karuna’ (Ahiri-Swati Thirunal), ‘Narayana ninnanama’ (Sudha Dhanyasi – Purandaradasa) and ‘Eppo varuvaro’ (Jonpuri- Gopalakrishna Bharathi) were rushed through perfunctorily, sans their aesthetic nuances. Perhaps, it could be due to time constraints.

Rendering excellent support, Subbaraman shone in his raga versions and manodharma swaras. The tonal effects he produced were superb. Ananthakrishnan played a highly valuable role, exhibiting agility and anticipation. Subramanian impressed with his subtle touches on the ganjira. Their interesting tani in Adi tala won accolades from the select audience.